Before 2011 totally gets away from us, here is a comment I've been meaning to post about. It's from a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) interview on the weather of 2011 with Dr. Jeff Masters, co-founder and Director of Meteorology of Weather Underground, and Kathryn Sullivan, deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
JEFF MASTERS, Weather Underground: In one year, we had three of the most remarkable extreme weather events in the history of the U.S. I mean, we talk about the Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Well, this summer
pretty much matched that for temperature, almost the hottest summer in
U.S. history. We also talk about the great 1974 tornado outbreak.
Well, we had an outbreak that more than doubled the total of tornadoes
we had during that iconic outbreak. And, also, we talk about the great
1927 flood on the Mississippi River. Well, the flood heights were even
higher than that flood this year. So, it just boggles my mind that we had three extreme weather events that matched those events in U.S. history. (emphasis added)
I post it here as something to remember--there were many other weather events in 2011, from Hurricane Irene to the Western wildfires and the Phoenix dust storms, but Dr. Masters's comment is a nice sound bite summarizing some ways in which the year really "pushed the [weather] envelope" on a macro scale.